Quick question: If you are a university professor who has made a series of obviously anti-Semitic conspiracy posts on your Facebook page, and have been suspended while the administrators contemplate disciplinary action, what should you do in the meantime? The correct answer is to say nothing, do nothing, and remain as quiet as possible for as long as possible.
That memo apparently didn’t reach Joy Karega, a composition and rhetoric professor at Oberlin College. Instead, she chose to claim that she was being subjected to “arbitrary standards and differential treatment” because she is a black woman.
This saga dates all the way back to the beginning of 2015, when Karega claimed on her Facebook page that the "Charlie Hebdo" shootings were a “false flag” operation done by Israeli intelligence agency Mossad in order to stop French support for Palestinians. The post accompanied a graphic of an ISIS terrorist with a Star of David tattoo pulling off a mask of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as you can see below:
Later that day, Karega again posted a criticism of Netanyahu for attending a free speech rally “uninvited and of course he went even when he was asked by Pres. Hollande (France) not to come. Netanyahu wanted to bend Hollande and French governmental officials over one more time in public just in case the message wasn’t received via Massod [sic] and the ‘attacks’ they orchestrated in Paris.”
Netanyahu was in Paris to visit the Grand Synagogue in Paris after the attacks, where Hollande joined him.
Fast forward to November, when Karega claimed ISIS wasn’t an Islamic terrorist organization but rather “a CIA and Mossad operation, and there’s too much information out here for the general public not to know this.”
And this is all coming from a professor of composition and rhetoric.
Oberlin initially tried to put the matter to rest. On March 1, the school’s president. Marvin Krislov (who is a practicing Jew and grandson to an Orthodox rabbi), said that while he couldn’t comprehend how she could believe in these conspiracy theories, her speech was nevertheless protected as free speech.
The school’s Board of Trustees, however, didn’t sit idle. They released a statement a few days later saying, “We deplore anti-Semitism and all other forms of bigotry. They have no place at Oberlin.”
Despite the harsh tone, it took six months for the school to eventually suspend Karega in August, placing her on paid leave while conducting their own “faculty governance process.”
Now we finally come full circle, when Karega spoke to a student-organized meeting in Afrikan Heritage House. According to The Oberlin Review, she claimed that the review process was somehow treating her differently and that is was probably because she was black.
“I cannot accept the way that I have been treated as a Black woman on Oberlin’s faculty. That is another reason why the review process has stalled. I am objecting to the way that I have been treated through the avenues that I have available to me. … You can disagree with the posts and still think I’m being treated this way because I am a Black woman.”
Another professor at the meeting even attempted to back up Karega as well. Justin Emeka, who is an associate professor of theater and Africana Studies, said that no one has been dismissed at Oberlin for bigotry, and asked if the first person would really be a black woman.
“The fact is, certain ideas and people are dismissed and erased. Who has the right to have a voice on this campus? … The extreme antagonism Joy has faced was used as a tool to erase voices challenging power.”
Because a black woman can’t be bigoted?
For the record, Krislov told The Oberlin Review, “It’s a fair process, a thorough process — we’re following it to the letter.”
How this woman has a Ph.D. and is in charge of teaching students is beyond comprehension.
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